The Mysterious Disappearance of Don Lewis: What We Know and What We Don’t
On August 18, 1997, Don Lewis vanished without a trace. The self-made millionaire and founder of Wildlife on Easy Street, a big cat sanctuary in Tampa, Florida, was in the process of divorcing his wife Carole Baskin, with whom he had a tumultuous and rocky relationship. Despite extensive investigations and countless theories, Lewis’ disappearance remains unsolved, and his whereabouts and fate remain a mystery. One aspect that has caused confusion and conflicting reports over the years is Lewis’ age at the time of his disappearance.
The life of Don Lewis
Born in Dade City, Florida in 1938 or 1939, depending on conflicting reports, Lewis was a wealthy entrepreneur who made his fortune in the world of real estate. He married Carole Baskin in 1991, and the couple established a big cat sanctuary dedicated to rescuing and providing a home for big cats abandoned by roadside zoos, circuses, and other attractions. However, trouble was brewing in paradise, and their relationship was tumultuous, with allegations of abuse and infidelity on both sides. By the time Lewis disappeared, the couple was in the throes of divorce proceedings.
The age puzzle and conflicting reports
One aspect that has long puzzled reporters, investigators, and the public is Lewis’ age at the time he vanished. Some reports list his birthdate as April 30, 1938, which would have made him 59 years old in August 1997. However, the official missing person poster that circulated widely after his disappearance lists his birth year as 1939, suggesting he was 58 when he vanished.
Adding to the confusion, various media outlets and law enforcement agencies have cited different birth years for Lewis, leading many to wonder whether he may have assumed a new identity as part of a mysterious disappearance. Though it’s impossible to definitively say which birth year is correct, there are clues that suggest Lewis was likely in his late 50s or early 60s when he vanished.
Understanding Lewis’ age based on circumstantial evidence
One way to piece together a clearer understanding of Lewis’ age is to consider the circumstantial evidence surrounding his life. For example, Lewis’ daughter, Donna Pettis, was born in 1959, which would have made Lewis at least 38 years old when she was born. Court records from Lewis’ divorce proceedings with Carole Baskin also suggest that he was already well-established as a wealthy businessman in the lucrative world of real estate by the time they married in 1991. Based on these details, it seems reasonable to assume that Lewis was probably in his late 50s or early 60s at the time of his disappearance.
Theories and speculation about Lewis’ disappearance
The mystery surrounding Lewis’ disappearance has spawned countless theories and wild speculation over the years. Some believe that Carole Baskin is responsible for his death and disappearance. Rumors of domestic violence and abuse have plagued the couple’s past and even continue to this day. Others suggest that Lewis may have been involved in illegal activities and fled the country to avoid prosecution. Strangely, there have even been claims that he was abducted by aliens or murdered by the Mafia.
Despite the barrage of theories and widespread attention, little concrete evidence has ever been discovered, casting a shadow of uncertainty and intrigue over the disappearing decade after decade. Investigations and interviews continue to be conducted, but after more than 24 years, the mystery persists.
The legacy of Don Lewis
While the question of Don Lewis’ age remains inconclusive, his disappearance and the subsequent investigation, has generated international attention and fueled the public’s fascination with criminal investigations and missing person cases. The Netflix true-crime documentary “Tiger King,” which aired in 2020, brought renewed attention to the story, with millions tuning in to follow the eccentric and often bizarre cast of characters engaged in agitating and chaotic lifestyle. To this day, Don Lewis’ fate remains unknown, leaving the world to ponder what truly happened that fateful day in August 1997.